Mainly fish, turtles and birds and the occasional small mammal.
Cuban crocodiles have broad back teeth that are adapted to crushing turtle shells, which enables these crocodiles to get to their main source of food. They also feed on fish and mammals and historically this species appears to have preyed on the, now extinct, giant sloth. Possessing strong hind legs, this crocodilian is particularly agile on land, able to move quickly and leap into the air.
The breeding season lasts for three to four months. A hole or mound is made in which 30 to 40 eggs are laid. The sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature in the nest.
These are one of the world's most threatened crocodiles due to hunting for skins and meat, swamp areas being damaged by agriculture and charcoal production, as well as competition with different crocodile species.
Recent reports indicated that population numbers of the Cuban crocodile are showing signs of recovery; the population in the Zapata swamp is estimated at between 3,000 and 6,000 individuals. Active measures are underway to ensure this population remains well protected but a further important conservation priority is the establishment of an alternative wild population. In the 1950s to 60s, thousands of Cuban crocodiles were taken into captivity to be farmed for their skins and the population of captive animals is today substantial, one farm has recently been given CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) approval to trade internationally.
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- Latin Name: Crocodylus rhombifer
- Class: Reptiles
- Order: Crocodylia
- Family: Crocodylidae
- Conservation status: Critically Endangered
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